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Happy 100th Milt Kahl!
March 22nd, 2009

Today March 22nd, marks the centennial of the birth of one of the world's greatest creators of the animators' art- Milt Kahl.

Floyd Bishop posted some great docu-clips on Kahl's life including an interview on the Frederator Blog-

Milt Kahl was beloved for his work, but by all accounts he was a difficult man to love.

Milt on his assistants:" When I fart, I expect them to say it smells like roses!!"

Milt on teaching animation:" Aww,...just F&%$*ING DRAW!"

Milt on retiring from Disneys:" I didn't retire, I F*&%$ing QUIT!"

Milt to Bakshi about an offer to work on Lord of the Rings:" Nah, if I wanted to keep doing SHIT I would have stayed at DISNEY!!

Even his peers among the Nine Old Men acknowledged Kahl along with Marc Davis the best draftsmen on their team.

He was cranky, blunt, at times coarse, but when he gave his friendship it was for real. And his work inspired generations of animators.

Art Babbitt told me Milt had a flawless style, but he could not put into words what he was exactly doing. His creative process was natural to him.

Richard Williams told me Milt is celebrated as a draftsman, but under appreciated as an actor. He had the extraordinary ability to boil the meaning of a scene down to two poses, free of all extraneous gesturing and confusion.

Milt on himself:
“It’s a very difficult medium. Animation necessarily requires a pretty good draftsman, because you’ve got to turn things, to be able to draw well enough to turn things from every angle. You have to understand movement, which in itself is quite a study. You have to be an actor. You have to put on a performance, to be a showman, to be able to evaluate how good the entertainment is. You have to know what’s the best way of doing it, and have an appreciation of where it belongs in the picture. you have to be a pretty good story man. To be a really good animator, then, you have to be a jack-of-all-trades. I don’t mean to say that I’m all these things, but I try hard. I got accused over the years of being a fine draftsman. Actually, I don’t really draw that well. It’s just that I don’t stop trying as quickly. I keep at it. I happen to have high standards and I try to meet them. I have to struggle like hell to make a drawing look good.”

The Motion Picture Academy is preparing the next Marc Davis Lecture at the end of April to be a comprehensive salute to this cumudgeonly Old Master.

In our overloaded information age when the celebrities of the past slip silently into oblivion, some digital overlords presume to claim animators are a mere functionary between modeling and lighting. To that I am sure, Milt Kahl, the Olivier of Animators, The Mahler of Animators, would reply: GO F^%$#@*& !!!!!